As kids we’re taught to plan for the future, right? Go to school, get into college, pick a degree & career path and have our entire life figured out by the ripe old age of 18! WOW!
Does anyone else see that as completely crazy??
I’m 34 (SHH! Don’t tell anyone), and for a long time I have beat myself up for my life being a holy hot fucking mess …oh, for as long as I can remember. After all I finished high school at 17. Had my first degree and a full time job by the age of 19. So, I of course, should be doing very well for myself by age 34 … right?
Well, let me tell you – nothing went as “planned.” Not a thing! I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I did the only “logical” thing I could think of. I went back to college for degree number 2. Now this time, I thought for sure I had it all figured out. I was going to be a graphic designer, an artist who got to follow her passion for art and photography and I was going to make a career out of it! HA! Did I have another thing coming! That dream lasted for 3 months after I graduated. The small company I was working for went through lay-offs and I was part of them.
Flash forward a couple of jobs and a few years and I’m still wondering what I am going to do with my life. I knew I wanted more than the entry-level customer service jobs I had been in and was convinced the only way I’d succeed was to, yet again, go back to school. This time for my M.B.A. For sure with an M.B.A. I’d land a stellar job right out of college making good money and finally be able to have what I want in life. This was the dream …
During this time I had a baby, went through challenging times with my sons father and became the financial head of my household. I completed my degree all with the hope that when I finished I’d get a job making enough money to be the head of my household and at least live a comfortable life. I stressed, daily, about money and the future. Would I be able to pay rent this month? How am I ever going to afford my loan payments? What if my car breaks down or we have unexpected medical bills? Where will I come up with the money for these things? I could never just live life one day at a time. I was constantly worried about everything that I could not control. Even after I landed a great job, moved to a new city, and was making progress in my career, I worked part-time as a bartender 4 nights a week (on-top of my day job) and stressed constantly about everything! The part-time job was a necessity because I was the only one working and bills have to get paid. But the stress was eating away at me from inside out.
Finally, one day I decided I’d had enough. I made some major changes in my life. I finally took control of it! I decided what I would and would not allow. I decided what was important to me and what could fall by the wayside. I knew above all else, I wanted to spend more time with my son, and wanted to feel like I got to live my life and enjoy it! Most importantly, I stopped beating myself up for where I was at. Heck, for where I still am at. I wish I could say that I have money in a savings account, that I have invested a fair amount into my 401k and that I have my student loan payments under control – but I do not.
I invest a minimal amount in my 401k (something is better than nothing), I’m paying off my debt (better to pay off the high interest credit card than put money in a savings account making WAY less than the interest I pay), and my student loans … well they get what I can give them each month. Someday I may own a home, someday I may put money away for my sons college, someday I’ll take that vacation I want to take … someday …
But for now, I am reminding myself to take one day at a time and to do the best I can.
**Taking life one day at a time is so much more than careers and finances. I plan to dive deeper into other areas of my life that force me to live this way. Keep an eye out for the next installment**